Some possible missions

I was talking to a friend the other day, about sobriety and breakups and other things that feel like getting punched in the guts. We were comparing “what have YOU done sober” stories. I have gone to more weddings sober than him, but he has gone on road trips with friends sober, while they were drinking, which I thought was impressive. He was amazed that I had traveled to Europe sober, and I was in awe of how he was going through a break-up without booze. It felt like we were comparing badges of honor. We were stocking up on sober experience, to make it to the next level. We were going on these impossible missions, and coming back alive. So now I’m thinking about sobriety as a series of missions. The question we ask ourselves is “Am I going to be able to make it through this xx without drinking?” and even if we’re feeling confident that we can do that it’s like “What will it be like doing xx sober?”

I will admit that viewing sobriety like a video game may feel like I’m trivializing the emotional energy this whole thing takes. I’ve been sober for two years, and last night I had to get up and walk around my dark house, breathing, remembering that I was here now, because I was running “here’s how life would be different if I had quit sooner” scenarios through my head. Then I went to sleep and had a drinking dream. That’s just a note to say that I still feel it, and it rarely feels light. But. This mindset around specific activities being missions on this crazy sobriety journey, I like.

I don’t know if you’re sober, or you’re a little curious about the sober thing, or if you’re my mom and you read all of my blog posts just to make sure I’m OK. Regardless, you’re doing hard things all of the time, and I bet you feel like it’s all normal and you don’t deserve to celebrate it. You’re an adult, and of course you should be able to xx. You should be able to go to a Christmas party where you’re ex will be, and you may additionally think you should be able to do that sober. Sure. You totally can. But that doesn’t mean that the loosely tied sober community out here doesn’t think you are goddamn amazing for doing so, and I bet there is a member of your current support system who would like to have the chance to congratulate you on doing that hard thing. It’s easy to forget, especially in sobriety, that you’re facing hard things head on, and it’s making you stronger. Every sober wedding, every sober trip, date, fight, lonely night, hard day at work, every SINGLE day you get out there and did what is hard to you, is a mission completed. And in theory, at least in my experience, knowing I can do that thing one time makes it easier the next time.

I got married about a month ago. I asked that there not be alcohol at the wedding, for one because it was at 10am, but also because large groups (40 people is large, OK?) plus booze make me feel anxious. I didn’t think of drinking once- we had so much coffee…it was dreamy. I felt like asking for that and feeling confident that my guests wouldn’t be terribly annoyed with their weirdo sober friend was a mission in itself. However, if I hadn’t done all of the mini-missions before that, like a sober bachelorette party, drinking sparkling juice the night we got engaged, celebrating with friends over tea, and on and on, this sober wedding mission may have felt impossible. It didn’t. There were moments, but I got through it. It’s pretty much the best surprise ever then, when the hard thing becomes enjoyable. That is undoubtedly some next level shit.

What kinds of missions are you going on? Does it feel easier every time or not? Tell me! I’m always interested in what you’re figuring out along the way. Keep up the good work, friends.

xo

Not a chill girl.

chill

“At first I felt these drawings were accidents, then I realized they were a part of me”. Beverly Pepper. Pepper was a sculptor and a decidedly not chill girl. Here’s me trying to dive into her sketches with my eyeballs.

I am retiring “laid back” from my list of “ways I want to be”. “At peace” is a way I want to be. But “laid back” is way too close to “chill” which is just another bullshit way of saying “lower your standards”. I’m too sober and alive for that shit.

This desirable state of chill got stuck in my brain at a young age. I like to blame Teen magazine, for reminding me that boys like girls who are laid back and wear “natural” makeup, aka look conventionally beautiful and don’t ask for much. I solidified that by watching Reality Bites a million times, and brainwashing myself into believing that the best kind of guy was a loser like Ethan Hawke’s character, and the best kind of girl to be was a chill waif who was cool with whatever.

I cannot even begin to explain the trouble this mindset got me into. I can blame culture, but my own teenage insecurity is the thing I can’t put on Winona Ryder and her stringy bangs. I wanted to be liked, and the path I took towards that was being as easily consumable as possible. Which I’m not; none of us our, if we’re being our true self, right? I fought myself for years, trying to push myself into this state of chill. This place where I was not difficult. If you ever wonder why people start drinking so much, one reason may be that they don’t want to care so much. Living with intense feelings is hard.

Today, I am not chill. I get emotional about things I care about. I have deep pangs of insecurity, which I tell my partner about unapologetically. I’m trying to stop forcing my body into a certain shape. I’ve done this before, since I quit drinking, and I always chicken out, and go back to diets. That Winona waif thing got stuck really deep in my mind. Today I ordered new jeans, to fit my growing hips. They are not chill. They are trying to grow into the space they want to inhabit. I’m going to do my best to let them.

The scariest thing about getting sober was being alone with myself. The first few months were numb, and boring. The next few months were euphoric, but I didn’t want to be around people. Things went up and down like this for the first year and a half. In the last few months, I feel like I’ve cautiously stepped out of my cave, and have started connecting with friends again. I still have nightmares about drinking, and spinning thoughts of guilt while falling asleep; I still hear the past. But I feel clean. And I feel safe. But not laid back. I care too much, love too hard, and shine too bright to chill.

Before and happily ever after

Oh hi, here’s me!

There’s this non-profit I like, Big Vision NYC, and they’re doing great stuff in the substance abuse space. They asked me to share a bit of my own story, and a “before and after picture”, for their social media pages. My first thought was “Aw, shucks, y’all!” and my next thought was “I don’t want people to see drunk pictures of me” and then my chest started to feel a little smooshed under the weight of feels, so I took a minute to think. When my chest feels crushed, there’s usually some truth hiding beneath the surface, asking for a way out. So I started digging.

I started looking through old photos. I lost my phone a million times in my 20s, so the photos I still have are the ones I chose to share on Instagram. I took a trip back in time, seeing a photo and remembering the story. There’s me, drinking white wine at a wedding, but there is no photo of the cut on my nose that I got when I tripped, blackout drunk, onto my face later in the night. There’s the photo of me looking skinny and blonde in NYC, sipping a cocktail on my birthday. There aren’t photos of me fighting and crying with my ex, again in a state of drunken confusion to the point where I was scared of how confused I was. There were also a lot of happy photos, because I was happy. As my drinking got worse, I still felt happy sometimes. I just felt anxious and scared more of the time. I realized a few things looking at these old photos:

You can’t tell from someone’s social media posts whether or not they have a substance abuse problem. Not that it’s your business, but it does create a false reality in your mind. If you’re struggling, and don’t see anyone around you struggling, that loneliness can make the idea of quitting even harder. But believe me: they’re out there. We’re out there. Our pictures might not tell the whole story though.

2. I didn’t realize how happy I could be. Back then, I would have told you that I was fine. I wished that I didn’t get so drunk, but otherwise, fine. Then the drinking was not fine, and it had to go. And then things were hard, and I doubted that this quitting was even a good idea. Until it was more than fine. Until I was able to do so much more, and feel so much healthier, and wake up feeling like I was 100 percent high on some clean drug that turned out to just be how you can feel when you stop drinking. Who knew? Not me.

3. Sobriety looks different for everyone. Honestly. You get to take your true self, and find out what it needs to be happy and at peace and then you just get to do it. It’s nuts. So if my pictures look different than yours, that’s good! That means you’re doing things in a way that feels genuine for you. I’m always working towards that, and away from that desire to compare myself to others. It’s such constant work for me.

I found a picture from my 30th birthday. I’m sitting on the floor, with my dog, drinking champagne from the bottle. It wasn’t a tragic night, and nothing awful happened. But looking back on it, I see a girl who is letting life happen to her. She doesn’t even know how good it could be. She doesn’t know that she can say no to the bullshit that she’s letting in. Then I saw an “after” picture is me, 4 years later, and I can see the peace in my eyes. Other people may not be able to, which is why this feels important to write about, chest-crushing feeling or not.

One final thought: If sobriety is a new idea that you’re throwing around, I suggest jumping in and finding out what speaks to you. It might be before and after pictures, it might be stories, or memoirs. Or scientific studies, or AA, or something cool like emailing me and asking me a zillion questions. No shame, just you letting yourself get what you need to start a new chapter. For me, it’s the best part of my story yet.

You’re not alone in the dark. It’s just dark. Keep going.

It’s been a little over a year since I quit drinking. 3 years since I took a huge leap and left the life I planning with someone else, and went in a completely different direction. Sometimes I look around and realized how far I’ve gone, and how much good stuff I have here, on the other side of that time. I also see how much I still need to let go of, how much I need to soften in some spots and grow stronger in others. This is not a “it was bad and now it’s good” story as much as it’s a “I was there, and it was dark, and I couldn’t see the light, but now I can see both”.  For me, seeing that there was another way to live, without all of the abuse I was inviting into my home, my body and my heart, was what helped me go forward. Yes, things happen to us, and they’re not our fault. Also yes, we decide when to move, to let go, and to hold on to what holds us. You don’t need to own it all, to claim that it’s all your fault, to feel empowered. Some stuff wasn’t, some is, but it’s all behind you now.

This isn’t just about drinking either.

If your partner was an asshole to you, it’s much easier for some of us to believe that we really were too needy, just like they said, and that if we had thought more of ourselves, they would have too. Our insecurity was to blame, not their condescension.  Acknowledging that you were being mistreated is hard to accept, but that acceptance is the key. Then you can move forward, decide what to leave behind and carry with you, and then just keep doing that. Moving, letting go, holding on, moving, letting go, holding on. That goes for mistreatment of yourself too. Decide what to leave, move on, move forward, repeat.

I’m writing this today to tell you that if you’re looking for a story that sounds like yours, and haven’t found it, keep looking. I felt so alone when I went through a big break-up a few years ago, and when I moved to another state, alone, and especially when I quit drinking. It wasn’t until the last one that I started looking, or I should say urgently searching, for people who shared my story. Simply seeing that someone else had done the hard thing that I was trying to do, was comforting. We have such an opportunity to share and listen to each other; to find out where we’ve been and to see where we might go. So if you have a hard thing that you did, I hope you don’t feel like you need to hide it, to prove that you’re fine now. We need your story. And if you’re searching for answers, please, don’t stop. Ask. Search. Read. You’re absolutely not alone in the dark.

 

Traveling sober: Nashville

I went to Nashville and all I got was a gaudy, blingy half marathon metal and alone time with my boyfriend! OH WAIT. I like that stuff.

The things I didn’t get: in a fight on the street with my boyfriend, a hangover, or PADS, an abbreviation my friends and I had for a made-up hangover disease, post alcohol depression syndrome, before I knew that was a real thing alcohol did to your body. I didn’t lose anything. I didn’t break anything. I only cried once, and that was when I crossed the finish line, after running for 13 miles. I ate ice cream in bed, but not because it was the only thing my hungover body could keep down. I was just pleasantly tired from the yoga class we went to, and my body told me that the next obvious step in this magical day was to eat treats in bed.

I promise that I don’t think I’m better than anyone else, especially people who still drink. Most of the people I love drink. The truth is, I’m writing in the car, on this 8 hour trip home, full of anxiety, because life is still waiting for you when you get home from vacation. I spend mental energy, trying to figure out how to be calm when I just want to scream. I wrestle with the future, and the things I think I missed out, and the things I’m scared I won’t experience. So don’t worry. I’m still a human. I just don’t drink. But that has been everything. It’s been more than I thought it would be. It was the quickest way to cut the bullshit in my life in half. There’s still bullshit, and I still get in my own way, and I still learn through trial and error every single day. So totally human. Just not a human with a drinking problem. Still a human who wants to go on vacation though. So. How did I go to Nashville and have the best time you can have in 48 hours? I tried stuff, and found some things that worked. Here’s what I liked:

  • I went to bed early and got up early. Party animal, right? When I say get up early, I mean, got up early to make tea and coffee and got back in bed. When you are drunk, you pass out and do not appreciate delicious beds. When you are sober, you can wake up and smash your face all over the dreamy cloud that is the bed you are paying to sleep in and it does not make your head ring. Find a good hotel/airbnb and make sure that bed is rad. Then make a nest and get up in that shit. So good. You can also walk around town before everyone else, get your explore on, and eat meals at odd times to avoid a rush.
  • Exercise in a new place is more fun than at home. Try a yoga/trampoline/sport thing that you wouldn’t try at home. 20 bucks for a class is like 2 cocktails worth of dollars. If you were able to do that, you can go to the fancy ass barre studio.
  • Energy for travel. Less booze means more energy. When I got sober, I realized that travel makes me nervous. I didn’t know that, because I would just drink when I traveled, because drunkeness and hangovers were comforting in their familiarity. A weird sense of unease is harder to define, but once I accepted that the first night of a trip has me feeling bizarre, I was able to be ok with it. The first night in Nashville, we holed up in our room and played a board game, and I didn’t worry that I was missing out on something. Did you ever drink because you were supposed to be having fun, but then you don’t really get drunk or you just sort of feel gross and wake up feeling shitty and tired either way? Yeah, me neither….haha just kidding, I’ve felt that way like a million times. No more though, and I’ve never missed it.
  • More time, money, and calories for spending on ice cream. Or whatever. Vegan queso. A steak. If you do not worry about your caloric intake, good for you. Please tell me how you do that. I do, and therefore appreciate the feeling I have found in sobriety of more ease in my body when I’m out eating ice cream if I didn’t drink a days worth of calories in wine the night before. My body is all about those ice cream on vacation calories.
  • I remember every damn thing we did. I remember every sweet look from my boyfriend. I have the patience to walk around the art museum and listen to a guided audio tour, because I am not thinking about when we’re going to the next bar. I make nicer memories now.

 

If there’s one thing I’ve found out about sobriety and travel is that you might just have to flip everything on it’s head. You might just not do things that center around drinking. Bars are just places to drink to me now, I don’t go to them, and it’s not sad. I don’t feel sad when I pass a dive bar, and see a cute girl giggling with her boyfriend, bar stools scooched up close to each other. I used to, but I don’t now, and so I’m telling you, in case you’re on the other side of that kind of longing. It’s hard to see things you think you might miss in sobriety. I promise there’s more over here though. Nashville, Paris, Chicago, Dublin…these places I’ve been since I quit, I realize that I wasn’t giving them enough credit. They’re more than enough without alchohol. Just like you. Just like me. Let’s keep exploring. I feel like there’s a whole new world out there.

Boo! A story about ghosts.

ghost

ɡōst/

noun

  1. an apparition of a dead person that is believed to appear or become manifest to the living, typically as a nebulous image.

There’s been a ghost in my house, y’all. A “nebulous image” that’s been chasing me like a shadow. Let me tell you a story.

In the last year and a half, I have tried to deal with a bunch of change and grief in so many fun ways, most of which I’ve mentioned here already: running from it (figuratively and literally), drinking too much, dieting too much, dating too much and generally pretending that everything was ok when it wasn’t. Like, here is a hole…I will fill it with all of the things except more me. 

I reached a point of exhaustion with it all the other day, and something amazing happened. All of the too much-ness washed over me like a wave, and I felt like I had been knocked down. When I got up, I was alone on a shore of sorts (ok, it was my sister’s bed in Chicago), feeling dehydrated and sore, and could clearly see that I was holding onto a ghost in my mind. The ghost wasn’t just the past relationship. It was my old house and my old job. It was old habits. It was good things and bad things that had made up a home. I had spent the last 18 months trying to pretend that the ghost didn’t matter, until it all mattered too much to move. It was time to let the ghost go. It was dead. I couldn’t breathe anymore life into it. I suddenly felt like I had been sad enough.  I had cried and screamed enough. I had wondered “what if I had…” exactly enough. After wringing all that sadness out, I was left with a choice, as I saw it: I could let go and move, or cling and stay.

In the last 18 months, I’ve learned so much as I’ve stripped away the things that I no longer needed and added on new layers that were completely my own. In the end, it was me and the ghost on the shore. I forgave it enough, but I didn’t fall down at it’s feet. I looked it in the eyes and said goodbye. Now I’m walking away. It’s the most grateful I’ve been for a revelation in almost exactly 18 months.

Sometimes walking away is coming home.

xo

 

Big coat+ big hair, don’t care.

Let me tell you a short story about big hair and big coats.

The other day I busted out the blow dryer, which I hadn’t done since I chopped my hair off. I blow dried my hair with the sole purpose of seeing how large I could make it. VERY LARGE, as it turns out.  And yes, I have free time that I spend very unproductively.  Now, this hair was not beautiful. Not something where I thought, Yes. This how we get the boys. More like Wowmy hair is so big and hilarious. I had a similar moment with an over-sized pea coat I recently picked up at a little shop called “Hall Closet, Parent’s House”. It does nothing for my form. It hugs nothing. It flatters nothing. It is so warm, and it makes me feel like Dana Scully from The X-Files, which is a good thing to me. Now, this might not seem like a big deal. I have enormous hair and a weird coat. Cool. BUT the point is that these weird things make me happy, and they’re not there to impress anyone. Nobody cares but me. That is something I have learned to embrace, after years of caring too much about what others think. Hell, I currently care too much about what others think, which is why unexpected joy about crazy hair and clothing is a tiny celebration.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I’ve walked into a room and wanted to melt into the floor boards. In these instances of melting with insecurity, I’d like to think that I was just gathering steam. Gathering steam, gearing up for day when I would walk to the coffee shop in my giant coat, and Conan O’Brien like hair, and feel super fantastic about myself, and then head back home. That kind of happiness, however infrequent, is my favorite thing about right now, and it just wouldn’t be as special to me if I was pretending that today was the first day of my life. That past stuff is mine, and to dismiss it seems like a really bitchy friend move to my past self.

Why does stuff that has happened to us matter anyway? Why not just start over and say “That was last year, NEW YEAR NEW ME I LITERALLY CANNOT REMEMBER ANYTHING THAT HAPPENED BEFORE TODAY LALALALAAAAA”.  I have tried this before, and for me personally, it does not work out. I have to respect myself, and that means acknowledging that I am all of my parts. All of my days. Even if I don’t remember them all clearly, they happened. I was me during them. Now I’m here, always. I’m carrying my past with me, not as a burden, but as a base. I can stand on all of the yesterdays. If I went through something hard, and I learned anything, I have that to prop myself up. If I made a choice that I regret, I have that. It’s here, so I might as well stand on it instead of letting it sit on top of me. It’s very hard to move that way. I don’t need to make things harder than they are.

I have no idea what you should do next, and I will never try to tell you that I do. If you’re like “what should I have for dessert” or “should I text this girl”, I will totally offer you advice. But, for the big stuff, the “seriously, what do I do next”, I think there are answers inside of our yesterday and today and plans that fell through and mistakes. I think that, when I listen to myself, and recognize a small shift, like giant hair and coat confidence, I can learn a whole lot from that. That matters to me.

xo

Alexis

PocoSmall

This doesn’t exactly relate to my post, but I dreamed this up when I fell asleep while writing it, so…yes. Comment/share here or on social media to be entered to win a print of my weird boat dream.

Emergency kit

When life gets hard, I pull out an emergency kit. My emergency kit has a dog in it. It also has coffee, a candle, sage and something to write with. There are some rings in there that remind me to be strong; one from my sister, and one from me. I put them on, make the coffee, and burn the things that smell good. I write with one hand and pet the dog with the other.

When emotions swirl in, and wrap themselves up in my head, I’ve been trying to resist the urge to do battle. I’ve been trying to learn about mindfulness lately, as I figure 488 million Buddhists can’t be wrong about something as simple as being present. I find it challenging because my brain is a pretty loud, jangly place. It is not a peaceful drive in the country. It is a sticky child in the backseat eating crayons, asking if we’re there yet.  So I’m interested in this mindfulness business, focusing on letting feelings come and just sort of observing them. This is uncomfortable at times, which is why I don’t think that the Buddha would mind me pulling out said emergency kit before sitting with all of this shit.

Eventually, I would love to feel comfortable wherever I am, with no need for a sense of security. My inner calm would be all I needed. For now, as I figure that stuff out, I’m not going to feel bad about the fact that my dog and some sage can help me avoid a panic attack. Or that sometimes they aren’t enough.  If I’m going to jump into all of this vulnerability, I need a baby blanket sometimes. Literally– I have the blanket I came home from the hospital in, on hand. JUST IN CASE. If I’m going to quit drinking booze to try to find some inner peace and balance, I’m going to occasionally eat ice cream while crying to my mom about how dating is hard when you have to tell dudes that you’d love to meet for drinks but that you won’t be drinking and could they please for the love of PBR just order a beer and not get weird about it?  I strive to love every inch of my body, because it’s mine and I know deep down that it’s great. I’m still going to spin into a body-loathing frenzy from time to time that involves trying on 7 pairs of jeans and then hiding in bed pants-less for a few minutes before getting back up and trying again.

Pants attack

When pants attack. *

Last summer, I wanted to do a headstand. I practiced almost every day in my room, smashing around, falling down, and sweating. It was not pretty. Eventually, I figured it out. I was able to do one. So I tried handstands. Same process, same smashing. I still can only hold it for a few seconds before I fall on my face, but those moments that I’m up there, balancing, feel good. The moments that I’m lying on the floor panting, checking for rug burn, also feel good. It’s a mess, but the whole thing makes my body stronger. Trying to do a handstand makes my arms just as sore as doing the actual handstand. Point: There aren’t good and bad parts here. Just parts. Trying parts, succeeding parts, starting over parts.

Today, I thought about some heartbreak, and I thought about some insecurity, and I felt small. I took a bath. I thought about all of the ways in which I am capable of treating myself like shit, and was tempted to do them all. I drank some coffee. I convinced the dog to snuggle with me by bringing all of my bedding to the couch. I lit a candle. I wrote this. Every step forward is a celebration.

 

*Want a colorful print of pants attacking? Comment here or share this post for a chance to win your very own copy, which I will send you in the mail. xo

Congrats to last week’s winner, the beautiful and talented Andrea Gallagher. I picked the winner live on Snapchat (me: perplexxis) so you know it was an honest random pick 🙂

GTFO vs. bloom where you’re planted

Honest admission: I want to put my bed into a camper van, toss the dog in there, with a bunch of paper and pens and paints. I would drive around the country, slinging art, sleeping in my van. In reality, I would have no clue how to fix a van if it broke down, and without my sturdy 9 to 5, I wouldn’t have the money to do it in the first place. I like showering in my shower. I like sitting in my bedroom, after work, burning candles and rearranging furniture.  I recently started contributing more than zero dollars a month to my 401K fund, and I feel good about it. If that doesn’t strip me of my wanderlusty free spirit badge, I don’t know what does. And yet, the desire to run remains.

ByeJobsmall

Dream*

When I get restless, I first look back, to see if that’s the place I want to be. It’s not.  Paulo Coelho says “I think it’s important to realize you can miss something, but not want it back”. I miss Chicago, I miss mysterious, toxic people, and I miss smoking and drinking and dancing until the sun rises, but I don’t want any of it back.

I decided to move to Michigan from Chicago a year ago, to recover after a breakup and to find comfort in a state that I grew up in. It was part knee jerk part planned reaction. Most things I try to plan go directly to shit, but somehow, this one worked out. I had planned on a year. A year is, in my mind, how long you stay somewhere. A year is long enough to find a new passion, or job, or lover or person to live with. It’s long enough to hate something, to discover something better, or to decide it’s time for a fresh start. After a year, with no real reason to leave, I have no idea what to do. This has led me to a discovery: I love to react. Anyone else? Not reacting is hard, right? I started thinking about moving out of Michigan. Why? No idea. I just feel like I have to do something. Staying and just doing the things I’m doing now feels wrong, even though I love the things. So how long do we stay? Why do we stay? How do we know if we’re running away from something or towards something and do we have to judge it? Sometimes words do battle in my head. The word “complacent” and the word “content” fight when this topic comes up and I haven’t come up with a winner.  Did I “run away” or did I “try something new” when I left Chicago? Does it matter, if I’m better for it?

I’m in a better place now, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t want to run.

 

*Want me to send you a beautiful large print of this silly drawing I did? Leave a reply or share this post, and I’ll pick one of you at random and mail it to you.

16 months later + 620 words on heartbreak.

Heartbreak is no joke.  Whether you are the one that ends it or not, the end aches with loss and emptiness. Time passes, and sometimes it heals all wounds, like it’s supposed to. Sometimes it doesn’t. People tell you to keep on keepin’ on, because time will totally take care of your sad little heart. Recently I learned that if we don’t let ourselves feel our feelings, and get mad and confront certain shitty truths, time can pass, and we can stay in the same place.

I went through a really hard breakup a little over a year ago. I thought that time would fix things. I thought 6 months sounded about right. But then 6 months passed. I was still hurting. It was constantly on my mind. I met new people but was not fully present because I was always thinking that maybe I made a mistake. Maybe that past relationship wasn’t as bad as I thought. Maybe I needed that person in my life at the cost of so many other things. Only recently, I realized that time does help to numb the sharpness of the loss, but by pretending I was fine, that I wasn’t mad, that it didn’t hurt, I was keeping myself in the same shitty place, mentally. I kept small ties to the person I had been with, because finally letting go would mean exactly that. That I had let them go. I found this quote by Lou Doillon. She’s a beautiful French woman who writes and sings and acts and I would like to be her friend. She had things to say about heartbreak and I was all “yes, yes, mhmm, yes” about it:

The best way to deal with heartbreak, she said, “is to embrace it, to surrender to it, because it’s all right and it makes you a better person to let it destroy you. My grandfather used to say, ‘No one’s dead yet’. The worst drama in life is death. The second drama in life is heartbreak. The worst ones are the ones that have to do with passion. I do believe that passion is a projection and love is a projection, when you fall in love with people who are mysterious enough for you to project whatever you needed to project. Those are the worst heartbreaks because it was all a fantasy anyway. You’re closer to a junkie at that point, so you might as well surrender to [the heartbreak].”—Jezebel

I had so much trouble with surrendering to the heartbreak and the loss because it made me feel vulnerable. I was much better at hurtling myself through the day, with tear soaked cheeks and wine stained lips, yelling “I’M FINE” as I headed off to my zillionth yoga class of the week. I thought I looked very together. Nobody bought it, because wine lips don’t lie, and when I try to lie I fail miserably. So I had to give it up, and go back to square one. Crap.

Heartbreak is hard but I don’t think we need to fear it. Embracing it without romanticizing it, accepting that you might be sabotaging your own grief by not letting go, and being about 10 times kinder to yourself than you think you deserve. That’s my advice, based on a year of mistakes and wrong turns. I deal with as it comes, whether it’s every day or once a week. I just let it in. It’s like a ringing phone. I answer it, I let it talk, and I listen, and then I hang up the phone. Letting the damn thing ring and ring will drive you nuts. I just go with the hope that, one day, it stops calling.

xo

Thoughts? Feels? Leave ’em in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.